Wednesday, December 7, 2016

He was just a replacement child for the one who died...

He was just a replacement child for the one who died...

Alan Stein is a young man down on his luck, and no matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to catch a break for very long. He spends his days working with a father who is completely dismissive of him for reasons he can't quite understand; and spends his nights studying for his GED so he might make a better future for himself. His life takes a turn for the worse when a woman from his past comes back and tries to strong arm him into taking care of her and a baby she claims is his.

Threatened and feeling cornered, Alan decides to take his life into his own hands and follows a very different path that is plagued with those who want to kick him when he's down as well as blessed by those who would support him on his way up.

Follow eight years of Alan's life where he discovers the world may not be as against him as he once believed. A compelling drama set in the first have of the 20th century that highlights the travails of young men of that period.

PO Box 1223, Conifer, CO 80433

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WRITER’S BLOCK? NO SUCH THING by Linda Barnett-Johnson

The dark recesses of your brain, known as the cerebral cortex, is where the words to your many stories lay dormant.  They've taken a leave of absence without any authorization.  You know they're there because you've accessed them many times before.  Is this what is known as "writer's block?"

Is there such a thing as "writer's block?"  Does our writing mind shut down like a factory when it's time to go home?  Does our writing ability go on vacation or enter la-la-land?  Or does it act like a signal light going from green, writing without ceasing; yellow, slowing down - getting off the track; or red, complete meltdown - do not pass go or collect $200.00 - stopped dead in its tracks.
If writer's block existed, you wouldn't be able to write your name, make out a shopping list, pay your bills, or write down an appointment and keep it!  So unless you're dead or in a coma, there are many opportunities to get over your "writer's block."

Get Creative:

Go to the park with pen and paper and write what you see.  Then what you hear, smell, feel and taste.  Your senses are always in working condition.  For example:  "The bird looked like it stood still in the air."  Now fill it in with more description.  "The large hook-billed eagle hovered over the ground, looking for prey with his keen eyes."  Try it with all the senses.

Another trick is to take your dictionary and start reading the words.  A lot of times this will trigger something loose.  Or randomly pick a word and write about it.  How about randomly picking a word and adding the word, land or village or town behind it.  For example:  I close my eyes and my finger lands on - "revolve."  Now put the word land behind it and you have - Revolve Land.  I don't know about you, but I can see a children's story about a town that has revolving playgrounds or schools.  Use your imagination and you'll be surprised at what you come up with.

I have a fun project I started that keeps my brain from going to la-la-land.  
1)  Take a small box about 12"x12" (or a size that suits you), and write "Story Starters" on it.
2)  Get some baggies, a black marker, pen, and notebook paper.
3)  On one baggy write: "Character Names, another "Settings," another "Emotions" and the last "Objects."
4)  a)  Take your pen and paper and write as many "Character Names" you can think of.  Just make up names.  Get a phone book if you have trouble.  Fill up the whole page.   Now do the same with "Settings," "Emotions," and "Objects."
     b)  Cut and fold each one and put them in their individual marked baggy.
     c)  Now draw a paper from each baggy.  You now have a "Story Starter."

Here's an example:
Character Name                   Setting                  Object                      Emotion
Baron Colmsby                    Concert                 Baby Girl                 Funny

I choose one piece of paper from each baggy and this is what I come up with.  My imagination is running wild.  I visualize Baron Colmsby at a musical concert.  Someone has brought a baby to the event.  Think of funny incidents regarding the Baron and the baby.  In fact, that would be a good title for the story - The Baron and the Baby.  Could make for a funny story.

You can make a baggy for anything.  How about:  "Story Titles," "occupations," "mannerisms," to name a few.  That's the fun of this project.  I even have a baggy with "phobias."  Whatever phobia I pick from the bag, you can be sure that one of my characters has it.  It's a blast!  There are tremendous possibilities, as well as a myriad of things to write about.  Keep it simple, or make it as elaborate as you want.
So you see there are potentials all around us.  All you need is your imagination and your senses.  So, in my opinion, unless you have no imagination, there's no reason for "writer's block!"

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A book that teaches children gratitude - great Christmas gift

A book than teaches children gratitude - great Christmas gift
Great story for the Christmas season!

Shhhhh... Here's a secret and a mystery just for you. 
When you read this book a few times & we sure hope you do.
Search for servants and what's the same in the Old World & New.
We hope that you will do this and that you'll realize it's true...
That the "richest" and most blessed Prince, or Princess, is YOU!

"Not so long ago in a town very near, lived a young girl and her brother who needed a good look in the mirror. For they were pouting and sulking until their faces turned red and their parents had had it and sent them to bed… When darkness fell over them and their eyes started to close a magical mist swirled around them and a castle arose…" Follow our young Prince and Princess as they get whisked away to a majestic land, where they are surrounded by luxury and countless servants, only to return home and realize how blessed they truly are.

PO Box 1223, Conifer, CO 80433

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Update on Feather Schwartz Foster

Wishing all of you and all of yours a very happy holiday season, and a prosperous and healthy New Year! 

Here are some upcoming speaking/signing events for Feather Schwartz Foster, author of THE FIRST LADIES, and her newest book, MARY LINCOLN'S FLANNEL PAJAMAS…

Sunday, December 4 – 1-4 PM – Barnes & Noble, Newtown, Williamsburg, VA

Saturday, December 10 - 1– 4 PM – William & Mary Bookstore, Merchants Sq., Williamsburg, VA 

Saturday, December 17 – 11 AM – 1 PM – Barnes & Noble, Glen Allen, VA  (Richmond area)

Saturday, December 17 – 3 –5 PM – Chesterfield, VA (Richmond area)

SundayDecember 18 – Noon – 4 PM - William & Mary Bookstore, Merchants Sq., Williamsburg, VA 

And a very special thank you to the Woman's Club in Hampton, VA for inviting me to speak at last month's meeting!  They were terrific! 

And a major thank you to the Williamsburg Regional Library System for giving me the opportunity to do a program at their venue on Croaker Road.  They had to bring in extra seats!  We look forward to doing another program with them in the spring!

It is time!  (Where does the time go????) to think about Holiday gift-giving occasions!
Moms, grandmas, history-lovers of all (!!) sexes, daughters, in-laws, grandkids…teachers, club "Secret Santas" and don't forget Aunt Shirley!!

"Mary Lincoln's Flannel Pajamas"
and other stories from the First Ladies' Closet

Nifty gift for all occasions!  Nifty selection for your book club!

Available in trade paperback, hard cover and e-book.  
Order now at amazon - 
or Barnes & Noble   


Super-duper podcasts on 
 Delightful (honest!!) PODCASTS.  Downloadable via the internet, I–tunes or whatever else… 

Contact Feather Schwartz Foster to arrange a speaking speaking engagement or a phone-in session with your book club!


Check out my wordpress blog for some nifty POTUS/FLOTUS and nifty history people stories! – George Washington's Two Revolutionary Sons – James Madison's Romantic Lesson – Unusual For Their Time: On The Road With America's First Ladies (A Book Review) – IKE '52: The Best Known Candidate of All!

A tale of corruption and greed in a post World War II era...

A tale of corruption and greed in a post World War II era...
A young emigrant man in mid-19 century America is offered a feature writing job for Radio Liberty in Washington, D.C.  However, reality quickly sets in and the service for Radio Liberty becomes gloomy. The power makes bosses so vicious against the underdog that working there becomes abhorrent. This book leads the reader to the ugly details that make one's skin crawl from their ill conscience that ends in one man's death. That office is a true "can of worms" made of small nasty people; presumably broadcasting the American Democracy, yet, slithering in each other's filth. 

A beautifully written memoir that not only offers a twist of humor, but also an exciting tale of a mid-nineteenth century government office run by naturalized emigrants, where all stories are believable as they relate to those brainwashing characters that prophesied mediocrity of a screwy world of proletarians, where no two minds meet.

PO Box 1223, Conifer, CO 80433

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What will Sarah do to save a child's life?

What will Sarah do to save a child's life?

From award-winning author, Gary Shelly, comes a story that simply must be told...
The phone call informing Sarah Nealle that her six-year-old daughter, Amy, has been in a school bus accident sends her on a journey she could never have imagined nor planned for. 

Doctors. The ICU. An epidural hematoma. Respirators. Apnea tests. Nationwide publicity. A mogul who wants to buy her daughter's heart. The grieving mother on television begging for a liver to save her son. Hospitals that fight over a first-grader's body. Relatives seeking revenge. A conspiracy to end organ transplants. The hero who can't save his own son. 

A ninety-two-year old who brings wisdom and peace, together with a reporter who reveals her own story. 

Then, the lonely decision of how to let her daughter die with dignity and perhaps fulfill a mission Amy would've volunteered for. 

Will her family provide support? Might those who wait for organs applaud? Can someone who faces this impossible choice in the future learn from her? Would Amy be proud? 

How does one measure what is best and what is not when nothing makes sense?

PO Box 1223, Conifer, CO 80433

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Using Pen Names: 7 Savvy Reasons Why a Pseudonym Can Be an Author’s Best Friend By Cal Orey

AT THE START of a writing career, your name may seem so perfect ... but as time goes by, sometimes a pen name becomes a must-have tool of the trade. And it's not just the famous writers who use one. Here's why playing the name game can be smart.

For privacy and safety. Using a pen name provides protection. If a topic is controversial or crime-related, going "undercover" may be wise. I did just that when I wrote an expose for a popular men's magazine about escort services (which provide customers with a companion for dates). I didn't want the local escorts or managers to harass me if they didn't like what I wrote about their business. So I took a double identity, just as they did, to stay out of harm's way.

To get very personal. If you want to write about something embarrassing to you, switching names is the ticket for sharing your story. Forget blushing. I wrote an intimate, first-person piece called "I fell for the guy next door" for Complete Woman magazine. By altering my name and the subject's, I got to tell my tale of woe and get paid for it.

To explore different genres. I spin many subjects, from nonfiction health to erotic fiction. In the 1980s, adult magazines for men (and women) were hot. Because I wrote from a woman's perspective, I got assignments. But I was also creating a name for myself in mainstream women's magazines. I chose an alias for the risqué work, which allowed me to explore two worlds apart without offending more conservative readers or losing my writing position.

For maximum marketability. Using a pen name can make an author more noticeable, too. Jane Doe might be too plain a name to stand out next to J.K. Rowling (another pen name). "The main reason I use Lady J is because it gets more attention," says children's writer Teresa Jose of Ontario.

For pragmatic gender bending. As a rookie, I fell into technical writing. After a swarm of rejections, I sensed that my real name, Denise, was too feminine to be taken seriously. So I made a gender switch to help market articles. I chose Cal for its masculine sound, and because California is my native state. When I received my first acceptance letter addressed to Mr. Cal Orey, I knew I had chosen the right name.

To address a problem of overabundance. Ten years ago, my editor for health-related mini-mags published by Globe Communications Corp., for whom I was turning out a lot of work, warned me I needed a pen name to avoid overexposure and maintain credibility. Since I wanted to write more for more money, I obliged.

To find anonymity. Using a nom de plume gives an author the freedom to keep his identity separate from work. One author who is a gambling expert maintains a low profile. If he uses his real name, he risks being blacklisted from the gaming industry. Putting a pen name to work as he does offers the best of both worlds. It's a win-win situation.

Some famous aliases.

THERE ARE many examples of pen names among famous writers. Here is a brief sampling:

Pearl Gray dropped his first name and wrote his Western novels under his middle name and with a slightly different last name, Zane Grey.

Stephen King has written four novels under the name Richard Bachman. "I did that," he explained, "because back in the early days of my career, there was a feeling in the publishing business that one book a year was all the public would accept."

Samuel Langhorne Clemens used an old riverboat term, Mark Twain, as his pen name. Often called out on deck, the phrase meant that the water was 2 fathoms, or 12 feet, deep--deep enough for safe passage.

Mary Ann Evans wrote under the name George Eliot.

Ellery Queen was actually a single name for the collaborative team of Frederick Dannay and Manfred B. Lee.